Bhubaneswar: The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) observed here today focused on promoting the rights of people with disabilities and raise awareness around their well-being. More than 1246902 people in Odisha live with some form of disability of which 542000 are visually impaired. This year’s theme for IDPD 2021 – ‘Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID 19 world’ has been adopted to highlight the issues faced by disabled people during the global pandemic.
Organised by the VIEWS, Odisha Association for Blind with support of DKBW, Germany the delegates speaking at the workshop titled ” Visually Impaired Persons in Odisha; Rights and Entitlements” underlined the need for an inclusive culture to embraces persons with disabilities so that they can equally participate and contribute to society.
Speaking at the event the dignitaries highlighted raised concerns on how the disabled continue to suffer due to unequal opportunities, discrimination and lack of empathy.
Sanyas Behera, President Odisha Blind Association highlighted how the PwD population have been the worst affected during the COVID 19 pandemic. Birupakshya Dixit from Practical Action observed how in spite of multiple measures to create awareness around their issues, the disabled are often overlooked during times of emergency.
Among others, MLA Priyadarshi Mishra, UNFPA representative Manish Kumar, President CLAP Bikash Das, Director VIEWS S.Bheema Rao attended the program. An MoU was singed between VIEWS and OAB to support a special blind school and promote inclusive education through audio books.
Focusing on the needs of the 542000 visually impaired, a three-member delegation of OAB submitted an MoU to the Governor. Among other demands, the memorandum demanded government’s intervention to release of Grant in Aid to OAB, a special recruitment drive to clear all the current and arrear vacancies for PWDs, construction of a barrier-free girls hostel building, for Digital Library building for the blind, reservation in promotion to service holders with disabilities, up-gradation of Bhima Bhoi School for the Blind to +2 level classes, enhancement of monthly disability pension to Rs 3000per month as rupees 5% reservation for PWDs in all housing schemes and a special Disability census